Windows – Recovering a Windows XP License key

licensewindows xp

I threw out a Windows XP machine a while ago (the motherboard failed). I kept the hard drive and the XP installation media.

Problem is the license key was on a sticker on the machine – doh! The original manufacturer has gone bust (Evesham) and I suspect that Microsoft will be of little help.

Is there any easy way to get the license key off the hard disk? Can I just find the file with the registry data in it and get the key using a hex editor?

I really need a spare XP key for use in a Windows VM.

Best Answer

If the old machine had a sticker, it was most likely an OEM license.

OEM licenses cannot legally be moved from one computer to another one. They die when the computer dies.

But, in answer to your question...

Load the old registry hive on your new computer and then find the XP key. -- EDIT make sure that you open the SOFTWARE hive instead of SYSTEM mentioned in the first guide, then open this just-opened-offline hive in the second guide.

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